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10 Killer Cooking / Kitchen Hacks

10 Killer Cooking / Kitchen Hacks

    I love to cook. There’s nothing quite like enjoying a tasty home-cooked meal that I have prepared and made myself. It’s satisfying knowing that my effort has paid off and I have produced something that I can be proud to share.

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    However, if you’re a novice, it can take time to learn some of the tricks and hacks that can improve your cooking skills or speed up your kitchen prowess.

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    Then there is the cleaning up afterwards — a sink full of dishes that gets in the way whilst you are cooking that no one wants to deal with.

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    Here are a few tips I’ve learned to improve your kitchen capabilities:

    1. Plan what you need to do. Whatever takes the longest, do first. Warming up an oven, boiling up some water. Put those on first. It takes about 10 mins for an oven to heat up to the right temperature, and about 5 minutes for the water to boil where its constantly bubbling. Get that going first before you need to prep the food.
    2. Defrost meats in advance. If you plan what you are going to eat you can preserve the quality of meat. Leaving it on a counter top to defrost will increase bacteria levels, nuking it in the microwave will leave you with a cooked outside and frozen middle. Put it in the fridge for 2 days in advance. If you’re in a hurry, defrost in water.
    3. To open an impossible-to-open jar lid,  hold the jar upside down and put it over the cooker flame for a couple of seconds. Alternatively if you are going to use the whole jar, stab the lid with a sharp knife to break the vacuum.
    4. Don’t have a steamer? Put your vegetables into a colander and put it into a pan with boiling water that fits. Make sure the colander doesn’t reach the water and then cover it with a lid. The lid may not fit perfectly, but it does the job.
    5. Get more juice out of lemons and oranges by warming them up. You can do this in your hand or in some warm water.
    6. Wash while you cook. This removes wasted waiting time and keeps you on top of the cleaning. When you put some meat in the pan and need to turn it over in a couple of minutes, fill the sink with water and start washing up. After you’ve washed a couple of items, it’s time to turn the mean. You can use this as a method to time your cooking.
    7. Shell boiled eggs with ease. You can do so by breaking a small hole at both ends and blowing into one end.
    8. Recipes are guidelines, they do not need to be followed to the letter. Love ginger?  Put some in.
    9. Avoiding wheat but need to make a crispy coating without using bread? Oats do a great job. Put them into a food mixer and you have a coating that can be applied to almost anything.
    10. Short on time and need to make a roast? Chop it up into smaller pieces. Your cooking time will be vastly reduced.

    These are just some of the hacks I use when cooking. Do you have any to share?

    (Photo credit: Chef Woman via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on June 26, 2019

    I Hate My Life: 10 Things You Can Do Now to Stop Hating Life

    I Hate My Life: 10 Things You Can Do Now to Stop Hating Life

    Hating life is a bit of a misnomer it seems: in the media, in education, in every aspect of our lives, we’re shown visions of a perfect world, one where everyone is happy and life is a decades-long dream. Unfortunately, it isn’t.

    Life can and is hard and tough and painful at times. I have first-hand experience of this: at this time years ago, I was a recent university graduate, unemployed and aimless. All of this was having a knock-on effect on my social and mental wellbeing—I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t seeing my friends as often. I was snappy to family members and I could barely drag myself out of bed in the morning…

    That doesn’t mean it can’t change.

    Life goes through ebbs and flows all the time and the key to getting through it all without cutting off your social circle and eating your local grocery store out of Ben & Jerry’s, is to cultivate some techniques and methods of going through life with some stability and grace. It’s not a guarantee against life’s hardships but, take the steps you want to use and you won’t hate life.

    If you want to stop hating your life and start falling in love with it, take these steps:

    1. Get Plenty of Sleep

    Seriously, you’re obviously going to be grouchy and more inclined towards the more miserable side, if you’re not getting your recommended seven or more hours of sleep a night.

    Start checking in how much you sleep and then start making steps to go to bed earlier and sleep for longer. It might cure every problem but at least you’ll be well-rested and less likely to nap throughout the day. If you having trouble getting to sleep, go and

    2. Eat Healthily

    I have had a real issue with eating healthily for years and it wasn’t until I was hospitalised a few years ago (for a condition unrelated to my eating for the sake of disclosure), that I really started to look at what I ate and how I viewed my body.

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    I’m absolutely an advocate of body positivity and loving your body at any size and while I haven’t lost any huge amount of weight, eating a hell of a lot healthier improved my mood and made me feel better.

    In short, it’s absolutely okay to have a pizza and a soda as a treat, but just have something healthier tomorrow.

    3. Write It All Down

    Sometimes the best thing you can do is let it all out. Keeping things that are making you hate life all bottled up is neither helpful to getting out of that cycle nor healthy for your overall wellbeing.

    Grab yourself a notebook, a journal, a diary, a bit of paper, whatever, and just start writing down how you feel. As soon as you’ve done that, start thinking about what you could do in theory to stop this from happening or to stop you from feeling like this.

    4. Get Some Fresh Air

    It’s underrated and we all take it for granted, but really, getting out of your home and going for a walk can be really beneficial. It gets you outside in the (hopefully) sunshine and getting to see the whole of life as you walk around can be really grounding and calming.

    Believe me, if you’re stuck inside mulling over on the bad things of your life, grab a pair of sneakers and go for a walk. Plus, it’s free. Can’t say better than that, can you?

    5. Get Some Exercise

    This is practically a Part II of the previous step, but as someone who used to look at the gym as something people did when they were feeling particularly masochistic, I can actually say I enjoy it now.

    You don’t even have to subscribe to a fancy gym—go for a run around the block with your headphones in or lift some heavy boxes to build up muscle tone.

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    Bonus: Doing all that heavy lifting of boxes or incorporating exercise into chores will make your house cleaner and look even more awesome, as well as making you look and feel better.

    6. Treat Yourself

    Hating your life can be exhausting, and I mean that literally. It drains the energy from you until all you want to do is lie in bed with a pint of ice cream and the last five seasons of a TV show on Netflix.

    Therefore, a good thing to keep your spirits up can be to treat yourself.

    Life is too short, after all, to deny yourself some treats. Go see that movie that looks awesome in the cinema, grab a gelato with a friend, paint your nails, whatever makes you happy, do it. You deserve it.

    Here’re more ideas to inspire you: 30 Ways To Treat Yourself No Matter What

    7. Cut out Those Negative Triggers

    Chances are that if you hate life, something is setting off those triggers in your head. Until you’re able to deal with them without turning all misanthropic, the best thing might be just to get rid of all of those negative triggers.

    If you’re suffering from what AllGroanUp refer to as “Obsessive Comparison Disorder” (i.e. obsessively checking out the lifestyles of all your “successful” friends), then stop using Facebook and Twitter as much.

    Social media can be a fantastic way to connect, but it can be also be a toxic environment for neuroses and comparisons to breed.

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    Trust me, I know. If it sets you off, cut it out.

    8. Dance

    Yes you can dance. No, really, you can. It doesn’t matter if you’re not some breakdancing dynamo or ballroom extraordinaire, everyone can dance. It’s programmed into the human race, the ultimate expression of emotion.

    Dance like no one’s watching, dance like you don’t care. Tap your feet, sway your hips, go as mad or as wild as you want to to your favourite songs. Nothing quite shakes the cobwebs off than losing yourself in rhythm and dance to a song you love.

    9. Get Organized

    A great way to start moving forward and looking at what you can change in your life to make it better, is to get organized.

    Spend a weekend going through your home and clearing the unnecessary stuff out of it. Get rid of the stuff you don’t need or don’t want anymore and start to give everything a space.

    It doesn’t have to look like it’s stepped off the pages of Good Housekeeping, but clearing a lot of space and making sure that your home has a bit of harmony can do wonders for your mental wellbeing.

    10. Pay It Forward

    Life is a mystery and it can be a minefield to get through. Sometimes you stumble, sometimes you fall. The important part is to pick yourself back up and keep walking forward.

    Paying it forward is simply helping others. Charity is something that is often thrown around as an accessory to human behavior—how many celebrities have you read about who have done something heinous, but are defended by the phrase “but [they] do charity work”?

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    Go volunteer! If you think you’re at breaking point, go help other people.

    People in the world out there will be going through the same things that you are going through; and while you might not run into someone who’s going through the exact same circumstances, you will be helping people who need help.

    Helping out a soup kitchen, or at a church bake sale, or at a homeless shelter or wherever needs help, can make a huge difference to the lives of those individuals involved. And believe me, it’ll do a hell of a lot for your state of mind .

    A great idol of mine, Audrey Hepburn, once stated that we have two hands: one for helping ourselves, and one for helping others. That’s a fantastic sentiment and one I think will help people who hate their live.

    If you go and help other people, you’re having such a positive ripple effect on the world that some of it will come back to you one way or another, and it will get better.

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    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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